LessMess is the expert commentator on this week’s feature article on the InShape NewsFlash blog
“Many of us are guilty of having a cluttered household. This, not only makes it stressful to find what we want, when we want it, but it also can lead to health issues.
According to McMillan & Company Professional Organizing, some 80% of clutter in your home or office is the result of disorganisation, rather than a lack of space. They also estimate that by decluttering your home you could eliminate 40 percent of your housework.
Susanne Thiebe, an accredited expert professional organiser who holds a an engineering degree in interior architecture, says that clutter is a health concern.
“Professionally, I realised that people with a lot of clutter often have health issues,” she said. “So by helping them declutter, I help them get healthier,” said Thiebe.
Thiebe says she was motivated to develop her professional organising concept because a lot of customers had health issues.
“It occurred to me that my customers health issues might not be the reason for their clutter, but rather, the other way around,” she said. “You get depressed if you have too much stuff.”
“Just by observation, I realised that some people hold onto stuff and this includes their weight,” said Thiebe. “It’s about change management, loosing fear, embracing new ideas and following healthy routines,” she said. “It might sound like a weight loss program, but it is more of a stuff loss program.”
Thiebe believes that by starting the program and shedding clutter, people often discover that they can lose weight, and vice versa.
“I am motivated by my customers tears of gratitude,” said Thiebe.
Thiebe says that listening to yourself and making time is important.
“Listen to yourself, it’s your life, not someone else’s,” she said. “There is no such thing as ‘not enough time’. If you claim not to have time for something then you should really say that you don’t find it important enough.”
Thiebe believes in incidental exercise and using your daily surroundings to workout. She says that it is vital to maintaining your health and fitness.
“Replace driving with cycling and walking, and take the stairs, not the lift,” she said. “Also have a weekly meal plan and stick to your shopping list.”
Decluttering your life begins with your home and then it progressively develops into a lifestyle choice.
David F. Tobin Ph.D., director of the Anxiety Disorders Center in the United States, says in Consumer Reports on Health that clutter can be hazardous and unhealthy.
“Clutter might create a fire hazard or vermin infestation, or keep them [people leading cluttered lifestyles] from walking around in the house,” said Tobin. “They have an exaggerated attachment to items and that prevents them from discarding things,” he said.
“We recommend cognitive-behavioural therapy, in which we help the person identify and change irrational ways of thinking and practice new patterns of behaviour,” said Tobin.
According to a study conducted by Clutterless Recovery Groups Incorporated, a clutter addict recovery group situated in America, some 74 percent of clutter addicts felt they needed therapy. Some 37 percent of the 1000 people surveyed said they suffered from clutter anxiety, and 24 percent considered themselves to be depressed most of the time.
Karen Kingston, author of ‘Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui’, states in her book that clutter can make you feel tired and lethargic, can affect your body weight and cause confusion, as well as generate a sense of shame.
“A curious fact I have noticed over the years is that people who have lots of clutter in their homes are often overweight,” said Kingston. “I believe this is because both body fat and clutter are forms of self-protection,” she said. “By building layers of fat or clutter around yourself, you hope to cushion yourself against the shocks of life, and particularly against emotions you have difficulty handling.”